Community Celebrates Transformed Rochester Museum & Science Center Campus During Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
ROCHESTER, NY—A joyous crowd consisting of several dignitaries, partners and community members gathered to celebrate the official reveal of the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) Regional Green Infrastructure Showcase (RGIS) at 12pm today on the RMSC campus. Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, attendees explored the newly transformed campus, which includes a porous pavement parking lot, an education pavilion complete with a green roof and glass sculpture and several other sustainable features. There was also a demonstration of the new porous pavement, where water from a large hose flooded the lot and visibly and quickly seeped through into the ground.
Many notable figures and supporters were present at the event. Attendees included Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) President & CEO Sabrina Ty. The Airforce ROTC Detachment 538 handled the presentation of colors and 5th graders from the Genesee Community Charter School on the RMSC campus sang the National Anthem.
Other key partners on the project and in attendance included Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Monroe County Water Education Collaborative (WEC) and the design team including Barton & Loguidice, CJS Architects, Nancy Gong Glass Works and The Pike Co. Financial and in-kind support came from Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care, Genesee Valley Chapter New York Water Environment Association, New Energy Works Timberframers, the Stormwater Coalition of Monroe County, TruePath Technologies as well as the RMSC Women’s Council, who contributed to the project in celebration of its 75th anniversary. Others who made the project a success were RMSC staff members and volunteers particularly from the Technical Advisory Group – a group of retired engineers who help us make hands-on exhibits – and many were also in attendance.
“We are excited to celebrate a project that has a very important result – protecting our local watershed,” said Kate Bennett, president, RMSC. “We are grateful to our many partners for helping us engage our community in science and the environment. This is another way we are looking to spark curiosity in people’s lives.” Green infrastructure practices contribute to enhanced water quality, community sustainability and urban ecology.
The RGIS on the RMSC campus is a huge sustainability demonstration project. Community members, visitors and passersby are now able to view several green infrastructure practices in action throughout the campus. Green infrastructure practices help local water quality by reducing the amount of stormwater runoff that enters the storm drains by collecting runoff and soaking it back into the ground. The RMSC is one of the first locations in the Rochester area to install these innovative and eco-friendly practices. The project is made possible by the New York State EFC’s Green Infrastructure Grant Program (GIGP), through New York State’s Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.
The EFC awarded RMSC more than $1.2 million for the RGIS project. The green infrastructure practices used in this project include a new porous asphalt parking lot, porous concrete sidewalks, porous pavers, bioretention, rain gardens, rain barrels and stormwater tree pits. The porous pavement installed on campus reduces stormwater runoff by infiltrating the water. This reduces the formation of ice, thus reducing the need for salt. The new bioretention areas and rain gardens on campus collect and filter the stormwater runoff from roadways and parking lots. The water is filtered by low-maintenance native plants and soil before soaking it into the ground. At the education pavilion, guests discover a green roof. An artistic educational glass design, called “Genesee River Watershed,” created by local artist Nancy Gong and sponsored by the RMSC Women’s Council, depicts the water cycle and how stormwater runoff ends up in the lake. The colorful art glass also diverts water from the pavilion roof to a rain garden. In another part of the campus, disconnected downspouts transfer rainwater from rooftops to rain barrels. A treadle pump, a human-powered suction pump, offers guests an opportunity for physical activity to pump the collected water out of the rain barrels onto a rain garden. New stormwater tree pits are also being planted as part of the project, whereby stormwater runoff is directed to the tree roots through flexible porous concrete. For every tree that was removed, two new ones will be planted on the campus.
The green infrastructure exhibits at RMSC highlight the interconnections between science, technology, engineering and math through real-world problem-solving applications while bringing awareness to the ongoing societal impacts of stormwater runoff in the Rochester region. Exhibition components inside the Museum’s walls demonstrate and explain how the green infrastructure practices featured outside on the RMSC campus work. Exhibits include a rain garden puppet theater, a porous pavement demonstration and various interactions with the WEC’s H2O Hero. RMSC’s new campus will be incorporated into the Stormwater Coalition of Monroe County’s on-going series of Green Infrastructure Trainings and Workshops, as a green infrastructure tour stop and as an ideal location for workshops.
RIT students have included the campus transformation as the focus of their environmental science senior capstone class. Their objectives are to assist with exhibit development and design and implement a monitoring plan to collect and analyze data showing the effectiveness of the green infrastructure practices at reducing stormwater runoff and reducing water pollution. Exploration of the outdoor campus is free.
Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) includes the Science Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium and Cumming Nature Center. Offering experiences at the Museum with more than 200 interactive exhibits, Planetarium with a 65-foot dome and Nature Center on 900 acres, the RMSC stimulates community interest in exploration. In addition, the more than 1.2 million RMSC collection items tell the story of Rochester’s past including its rich history of innovation and invention. RMSC receives major funding from Monroe County, where it is one of the top three most visited attractions serving children and families. For more information about RMSC, visit www.rmsc.org. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Image 1: Photo of the Green Infrastructure Showcase featuring a glass sculpture by local artist Nancy Gong. Photo credit: Christopher Maggio.
Image 2: Pictured Left to Right: RMSC VP of Operations Joe Graves, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, RMSC President Kate Bennett, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Environmental Facilities Corporation President & CEO Sabrina Ty, Water Education Collaborative Coordinator Paul Sawyko, RMSC Chief Science Officer Dan Menelly.
Image 3: Pictured Left to Right, seated: Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren in front of RMSC Genesee Community Charter School 5th graders, who sang the National Anthem.
Image 4: Pictured Left to Right: Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, RMSC President Kate Bennett, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Environmental Facilities Corporation President & CEO Sabrina Ty, Water Education Collaborative Coordinator Paul Sawyko, RMSC Chief Science Officer Dan Menelly.